Show Notes for Ep. 42 "Afro-Surrealism With Yvette Ndlovu"
Humans Mary Anne and Ben interview Yvette Lisa Ndlovu, (also human), as well as a Zimbabwean sarungano (storyteller), about her work in her recently published short story collection “Drinking from Graveyard Wells.” The hosts of MRAH explore what it means to be a writer from the diaspora with Ndlovu, as well as how she walked the line between speculative fiction and surrealism while ruminating on the rich historical, cultural, and mythological stories of her homeland.
You can find out more about Ndlovu and her short story collection, “Drinking from Graveyard Wells,” at www.yvettelisandlovu.com.
Recorded December 11, 2022 / Published June 5, 2023
- 0:00:00 – on being a writer from the diaspora
- 0:12:50 – on the historical and cultural influences of Ndlovu’s stories.
- 0:20:60 – on how Ndlovu’s collection resists being fully speculative
- 0:31:44 – on Ndlovu’s Clarion workshop experience
- 0:34:50 – who is Ndlovu in conversation with? (writers mentioned in podcast listed below)
- 0:42:35 – what is lost in translation going from oral to literary traditions
- 0:49:40 – on what Ndlovu grew up reading
- 0:53:30 – intermission and SLF ad
- 0:54:44 – an aside on Beth Meacham and critique burn
- 1:02:50 – how Ndlovu found and came onto the show
- 1:05:34 – on the elements of anger and feminism in Ndlovu’s work
- 1:23:07 – on the responsibility of the diaspora
- 1:37:44 – on how Ndlovu organized the stories and the disorienting nature of surrealism
- 1:48:40 – concluding thoughts and Ndlovu’s next project
Works and Authors Mentioned
Organized by order of appearance.
- Tendai Huchu, author of The Library of the Dead and The Hairdresser of Harare
- Glory, by NoViolet Bulawayo
- Petina Gappah, lawyer and writer
- Ignatius Mabasa, writer
- Uhura’s Song, by Janet Kagan
- During their conversation about what Ndlovu grew up reading and listening to, she mentions Ngano, which are traditional Zimbabwean fairy tales, which music and song was often an integral part of. Check out Ndlovu’s playlist for when reading her collection, Drinking from Graveyard Wells.
- The Wishing Chair, by Enid Blyton
- Ocean Vuong, poet
- The Lion and the Jewel, by Wole Soyinka
- The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant
- The Great Derangement: Fiction, History, and Politics in the Age of Global Warming, by Amitav Ghosh